AFTER a break of just 18 days the PGA Tour season kicks off again today at the Frys.com Open in California.
Under three weeks ago Henrik Stenson celebrated winning the FedEx Cup at East Lake. This is the first time the tour starts its season in one calendar year and finishes it in another.
"I'm back to zero," Stewart Cink said. "I like the fact I don't have to be No. 76 anymore. I can hopefully establish something new."
Cink failed to advance to the next round of FedEX Cup playoffs following the Deutsche Bank Championship and has since been at home enjoying a short offseason. His bags are now packed and he is heading to the airport which reminds the 40-year-old of the old days on tour.
"The last six or seven years, I went to fall tournaments and didn't have that amped-up feel. I didn't feel like I was in the heat of things," Cink said. "I had my charity event, this and that. My mind was so elsewhere. I went to play just to play. You hit a lot of shots; you play a lot of holes. Coming here, I feel a little bit more of a hunger."
Since the FedEx Cup began in 2007 the tour had a half-dozen events which meant nothing more than playing for money and they didn’t count to FedEx Cup points - now they do.
"This new system has given these fall events greater credibility," John Senden said.
The Frys.com Open field is not terribly strong. It has only two players from the top 50 (Hideki Matsuyama and defending champion Jonas Blixt), three players from the Presidents Cup (Matsuyama, Leishman and Angel Cabrera) and two from the Tour Championship (Billy Horschel, Gary Woodland).
"Compared to last year's field, we've seen a very, very significant improvement in the middle of the field, kind of the meat of the field," said Andy Pazder, chief of operations for the tour. "You look at the 31 through 125 group of players from last year, and it's a much, much stronger field."